Clark University has named Professor James McCarthy the next Leo L. and Joan Kraft Laskoff Professor in Economics, Technology and the Environment. He will hold the professorship for four years.
McCarthy has been at Clark since 2011, when he was hired as a professor of geography. Previously, he was an associate professor at Pennsylvania State University.
McCarthy is a widely published scholar and the Nature-Society editor of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers. He has published more than 50 articles or chapters in peer-refereed journals or books. He has co-edited two volumes, “The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology” (2015) and “Neoliberal Environments: False Promises and Unnatural Consequences” (Routledge, 2007), and edited a third, “Environmental Governance in a Populist/Authoritarian Era” (forthcoming from Taylor and Francis).
His research focuses on environmental governance, with a current emphasis on how to make transitions to predominantly renewable energy sources as just, democratic, and sustainable as possible. He is particularly interested in the political-economic and social implications and possibilities of rapidly expanding renewable energy technologies on the landscapes and livelihoods in the global North and global South. This professorship will enable McCarthy’s plans for research in this domain. These include conducting comparative research on renewable energy policies and financing mechanisms; hosting a meeting of the North East Just Transition Research Network at Clark University; and supporting graduate and undergraduate students to pursue work in this area.
McCarthy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and environmental studies from Dartmouth College in 1987 and earned his doctorate in geography from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999.
He succeeds Professor Dick Peet, who held the Laskoff professorship from 2010 until his retirement in 2019. Moving forward, the Laskoff professorship will be rotated on a four-year basis.
The Laskoff professorship in economics, technology, and environment was established in 1997 by a generous gift from Joan Kraft Laskoff and her late husband Leo L. Laskoff. The gift supports a professor and program concerned directly with economic change, technological innovation, and environmental sustainability, with a particular interest in faculty members who have profiles as public intellectuals. President David Angel was the first holder of this professorship.